The devil’s own tipple

Wine O’Clock – By Michael Wolsey

Pinot Noir is an old variety of grape. It is difficult to grow and gave rise to the famous verdict of one vineyard owner that “god made Cabernet Sauvignon but the devil made Pinot Noir”.

However, most growers agree that Pinot Noir is worth the effort for the excellent wine it produces. It turns up in many blends, including some Champagne, but we know it best for the light, bright red that goes under the same name as the grape.

It is mainly associated with the Burgundy region of France but is also produced in California, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and several other countries.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are strains of the grape, used in the production of white wine. Pinot Grigio is its Italian cousin.

In Alsace, where most of the French Pinto Gris is made, the harvest is late, producing a rich, slightly sweet, white wine which goes well with fish or chicken.

Across the border, Italians produce the Grigio, which is lighter than Gris, sharp with citrus flavours. It also works well with fish but is very nice as an apéritif, or to sip by itself.

Pinot Blanc is a full-bodied, dry white from France, Italy and Hungary, with a sweeter version produced in Austria and Germany.

You won’t see much Pinot Blanc in Ireland but Dunnes Stores have put an interesting one on their shelves, Arthur Metz, from Marlenheim in Alsace.

The Dunnes brochure describes it as having “a discrete nose of stewed fruit” which doesn’t sound like much of a come-on to me. It’s actually a nice, crisp, quite subtle wine, that would go well with fish, salads or cheese. At just €12 it is well worth a try.